~ Dealing with Expired Makeup ~

October 2, 2009

We have all done it. You, me, and that girl over there——>

 We have ALL held onto some of our cosmetic purchases just a bit too long. While it seems harmless, in all actuality this can be a serious problem and if you are having skin issues that you cannot pinpoint, here is the place to start looking:


Yes. Your cosmetic bag!

 Firstly,  all cosmetics have a life span. Some more than others but a life span nonetheless. Higher end cosmetics included. Paying more for an item doesn’t mean it can go beyond the recommended life span of more inexpensive brands.

 Second, during the manufacturing process, all items are exposed to a certain level of bacteria ( mostly harmless) but after a certain period of time and use this bacteria can become dangerous and cause irritation and possible infection. For example – Your mascara wand is introduced to bacteria from the moment it comes out of the tube. Continuous opening, exposure and pushing back into the tube pumps more bacteria into the product. So, remember – The clock begins ticking the moment you open any product.

 The best way to track when the time is “up” on a product, is to count forward from the purchase date to the estimated expiration (see guidelines below)  and mark on your calendar when to toss specific items, or put a small label with the expiration date on your product. This way, there is NO question and much less risks.

 Knowing the life span of your cosmetics is a good start to getting the best result from your investment as well as avoiding other , more serious issues. Here is a list of basic cosmetic products and the post opening (from the time you open it) life span before it needs to be replaced.

  • Eyeliner/Lipliner pencils- 12 – 18  months (sanitize and sharpened often)
  • Liquid Liner- 3 months maximum
  • Liquid Products – 6 -12 months
  • Cream Products – 6-12 months
  • Powder products – 18-24 months 
  • Mascaras- 3 months maximum

*Please keep in mind these are  basic guidelines provided you are sanitizing your products on a regular basis and using excellent hygiene and storage methods. While opinions may vary on this topic, I am merely suggesting this information as told to me by Dermatologist/Dermatopathologist. I urge you to take great care and concern in your research when determining guidelines for your safety.

 ** All-natural brands may have a shorter life span. Please  consult the manufacturer or package for more information.

“AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE” Here are some tips to guide your way:

WASH YOUR HANDS: One thing you can do to get the most of the life span is to ALWAYS make sure your hands are clean and sanitized before handling your cosmetics. Keep a bottle of sanitizer on your makeup table or in your beauty bag and use it, every time.

 STORAGE: Store your makeup properly in a cool, dry place. Do NOT leave makeup in handbags, cars, or humid bathrooms. These are all breeding grounds for bacterias.

 AVOID SHARING: Do NOT share makeup, EVER and  avoid testers at cosmetic stores and counters. Do not participate in makeup swaps on used items. You don’t know how many hundreds of hands have touched that eyeshadow, mouths have tried that lipstick – or where those hands and mouths have been.

 WASH YOUR TOOLS:  Dispose of disposables..do not try to use those cosmetic wedges all week long. There is a REASON they are disposable. Also, WASH your puffs, brushes and other tools once weekly in a gentle or antibacterial soap and lay flat to dry. Bacteria infested applicators will affect your entire product.

 DON”T ADD WATER: Never add water to products to “refresh” them or extend life as water carries bacterias too, and sealing it into a product bottle will only make things worse.

 SANITIZE PRODUCTS: You can properly sanitize certain products and tools with an easy, inexpensive method to get the most use from your cosmetic investment. A bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol ( at least 70%) and a small 4oz spray bottle is all you need and you can find these items at any dollar type store.

  • Use common sense here – Do NOT spray alcohol into liquid products, or mascara tubes/wands, liquid eyeliners, foundations, or loose powder products like powders and shadows.
  • Do lightly spritz eyeliner/lipliner pencils, solid dry products in pans, tweezers, sharpeners and mascara curlers (remove pad first, replace when complete). A light spritz from 6-8 inches away should do the trick. Alcohol dries quickly and you can replace the caps and the job is done.

NOTE CHANGES: In smell, texture and color. If you see signs of breakdown in any of these areas, best to be safe rather than sorry. Toss it!

 Finally, at the sign of  any irritation/infection, dispose of all products, sanitize your makeup areas and skip makeup purchases or application until the infection clears. It isn’t worth the discomfort, appearance, embarrassment, doctor visits, cost  or anything else to insist on holding onto that eyeliner or mascara.

 A truly beautiful woman is a smart, healthy woman who knows when to say “No More” to that lipstick she wore to Aunt Megs funeral in  ‘84. Buying new makeup is fun, and your health is the best excuse to explore new products, brands and looks. Enjoy!

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2 Responses to “~ Dealing with Expired Makeup ~”

  1. i lopez Says:

    Very helpful . so pigments and eyeshadows should only be used 2 years ?

    is it ok to leave makeup and brushes in like a brush bag./small makeup bag ?

    how often should curler pads be replaced ?

    • KristineMarie Says:

      Iris- They are only guidelines really and best handled at your discretion. If sanitized and stored properly, I think your powder products would go further. The key is not waiting until something happens to get the hint;) On brushes, keep them very clean – spot clean after use, sanitize and when possible, store in a clean, dry place. Makeup bags are ok, but try never to let dirty brushes sit around in a closed up bag;)

      On curler pads, again, depends on usage If only used on yourself, you will begin to see lines of wear in the pad and thats a good sign, but if you don’t use often – still keep it sanitized, only use on clean lashes and replace every couple months. I replace mine way more often, but I use it A LOT;)

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